I was not expecting a boat as stable as the majority of kayaks out there that are 600mm wide and the Break Sea is 540mm wide which is just the width of boat that I was looking for and 5.2m long. Most of the overseas kayaks that are known for speed are in this region width wise and I was looking for something quicker and livelier than the 7-8 stable kayaks that I have test paddled for the last month. And many of the boats just feel too big for me, and slow. The closest that I enjoyed paddling was a Euro X at 570mm but this did not have the required day hatches that I wanted and the Slingshot at 520mm wide was just too tippy for the kind of paddling I want to do. The BreakSea has two day hatches, one in front above the cockpit and one behind the cockpit along with the two larger flush mounted hatches for ease of fitting larger dry bags. Yeah but these big hatches are sure to leak.
The cockpit opening is larger than many of the bigger boats that I have paddled but not quite as large as my Beachcomber. I was able to get in and out without problems although not quite being able to sit and then pull the legs in. The cockpit itself and the seat were still plenty roomy enough for a 75kg 5’8″ paddler and in fact I will need to fit the cockpit with hip pads and knee braces as I have done to my Beachcomber.
Firstly paddling into the headwind and small chop and waiting for the spray to hit me in the face I was pleasantly surprised to see that the waves would wash over the bow and not hit the hatch cover and fly up into the air and then hit me in the face but would continue over the flush mounted hatch covers and disperse back over the side. And a nice wave was flaring out from the shaped bow area. When I was finished I was happy to note how dry my upper body was.
Its unfortunate that I had not brought my small dry bag for my GPS so that I could keep an eye on the speed for the effort that was going in, but this boat felt quick whether I was going with the tide and against a 15 knot headwind or if I was going with the wind and against the tide. The narrow width helped with my feeling of speed as being able to get the wing paddle closer to the center line and using correct wing paddle technique where the paddle is moved outwards rather than back gives more area of water for the paddle to work.
Next I sought out the clapotis and confused chop. I did feel a little cautious just because I was a little loose in the seat and cockpit and the wave and chop was very unpredictable.
Padding out the cockpit would definitely help some of the tippy moments I had paddling the BreakSea in the confused chop and waves at the mouth of Raglan Harbor. The tide was strong and the waves were coming from two directions with clapotis. I had to do a couple of low braces and I could feel my core muscles working to keep everything level. Once I fit the boat better with added padding, control should be enhanced. A few low braces now and again and I went in search of some following seas to see how the boat responded.
There were a few swells coming through and while the boat would not turn as quickly as my Beachcomber without railing, once I have a better fit and can rail the boat I’m sure the cornering will be very quick and it was certainly quicker than many of the boats I’ve been paddling recently. Anyway I got the boat around in time and paddled with the swell and holy heck! The boat just took off! I was flying on the swell and I wouldn’t even really call it a wave cause it wasn’t anywhere near breaking but would Peter out further into the harbor mouth. The feeling of speed was exhilarating and I’ve been in a few boats that are known for their wave catching abilities recently. I had to have some more and went back out to the entrance and caught another 3 or 4 waves. I didn’t get up on any real surf type waves to feel how tippy the boat was in these conditions but the speed that the Break Sea reached on these swells had me excited.
Back on land and checking the hatches for water and they were all dry with the exception of the rear hatch which looked like a little water had dripped in. All the hatches looked like they had done a good job of keeping the water out.
My GPS that had been sitting inside one of the hatches indicated that I had reached a top speed of 17.8kph on one of the swells and I wasn’t even trying to reach a top speed.
So a fast boat, not for a beginner but fun for someone with a bit more experience in the rough stuff.